March 4, 2013
Black Bottle tends to win a lot of awards and has quite a following, even among malt-heads. Oh, here’s the kicker: the bottle’s about $20 in the US. … Either way, I’m calling it a “Must Have” because you can’t find a better peated blend – or almost any blend, for that matter – for this price.
October 15, 2012
This is a particularly sweet, aromatic whisky with a very muted peat profile. If someone handed me a glass, I can honestly say I would enjoy drinking it. Alas, this whisky is not worth the (exceptional) effort required to secure a bottle.
September 17, 2012
Subtle and accomplished, if light. The peat is masterfully understated, and plays beautifully with the naturally sweet lemon, honey, and floral elements. Don’t let the ‘light’ moniker distract from the fact that this is very highly peated malt, with far more subtlety than, say, Laphroaig, but a lot more power and sinus-burning peat than Highland Park. It does very much stand alone among the Islay malts, though, being light and playful, but also masterful and persuasive.
June 28, 2012
Okay. Yeah, it’s aged in PX sherry, which is a big deal, but… this particular expression falls short with me. I’d stick to the 16, and get my sherry kick elsewhere.
June 14, 2012
Amazing that a three year-old whisky distilled on a tiny brandy still in Oregon can smell and taste like an 8 or 10 year-old Islay single malt scotch. Sure, the imported barley has a lot to do with that, but Steve McCarthy’s attention to detail, careful (and economical) use of oak, and small slowly-running stills all come through in the product, which somehow tastes handcrafted.
June 7, 2012
The 12 has a clearer, cleaner flavor than Lagavulin 16, more bright and more powerful. It shows Islay peat, pure and without excess wood or the sweetness inherent in the use of European oak.
February 2, 2012
Recently, a shop-exclusive bottling of a cask-strength Bruichladdich chenin blanc finish, imported by a certain *cough* local store, dismayed its retailers and purchasers alike by turning sour… in the bottle. I got a sample of the recalled spirit.
January 9, 2012
I’m not sure I would call this “easy drinking”, and I don’t think I would buy a bottle (if it were still available!). John did manage to achieve part of his goal: a big, peaty Caol Ila with a powerfully sweet highlander to give it some background.
December 27, 2011
A mediocre dram when compared with similar young Islays. There is some nice dark musty peat, but it’s not as intense as most Islay fans would like. My best guess is that this is a 6 year-old Ardbeg from a heavily charred ex-bourbon barrel, but not an excellent one.
December 22, 2011
Although overshadowed by its mighty (both in flavor and in following) neighbors to the south, Laphroaig, Lagavulin, and Ardbeg, Bowmore’s whisky displays a restraint that provides grateful relief to the bog-soddened palates of peat lovers.